CORONAVIRUS

Spain’s state of alarm: the key measures that are now in place

The decree approved by the government on Saturday has immediately locked down the country, limiting the movement of citizens across the entire territory

Empty streets in Madrid on Sunday, where the Rastro flea market would usually be taking place.
Empty streets in Madrid on Sunday, where the Rastro flea market would usually be taking place.Lalo Alvarez / GTRES

Why has the state of alarm been implemented?

To deal with the health situation caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. According to Article 116.2 of the Spanish Constitution, the state of alarm can be declared “in all or part of the national territory, when there are health crises that involve serious alterations to normality.”

Which parts of Spain do the measures affect?

The declaration of the state of alarm went into action on Saturday night, and affects the whole of Spain for a period of 15 days.

Which branch of the administration is in charge?

Under the state of alarm, the central government in Madrid has all powers. All security forces, including local and regional police forces, are under direct orders of Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska. The government will reserve the right to fine people who do not respect the restrictions, as is allowed under the 1981 law setting out the conditions of the state of alert.

What are the restrictions on movement?

  1. During the state of alarm, citizens and vehicles will only be allowed to travel on public roads and streets for the following activities:
  2. The purchase of foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and essential items.
  3. To attend health centers.
  4. To go to work or to provide employment services.
  5. To return to your usual residence.
  6. To assist and care for seniors, minors, dependants, the disabled, or people who are particularly vulnerable.
  7. In cases of force majeure or of necessity.
  8. Any other activity that is, by its nature, justified.
  9. Vehicles may take to the roads for any of the aforementioned activities, as well as to refuel at gas stations.

Limits to commercial activity, restaurants and leisure centers

All premises and establishments that carry out public-facing activity are closed, apart from those distributing foodstuffs and essential items.

Cafés and restaurants are shut, but they will be able to deliver food to people’s homes.

Public shows such as cinemas and theaters are closed, as well as sporting events, museums, etc.

All local fiestas and marches are suspended.

Ceremonies and religious sites

Civil and religious ceremonies, and services in places of worship, including funerals, can go ahead provided that there are no large crowds and that attendees maintain a distance of one meter from one another.

Reinforcements for the health system

Military personnel and health installations will be used to strengthen the national health system across Spain. The Health Ministry will ensure that production centers for health supplies continue to operate, including the temporary intervention of companies, private health establishments and pharmaceutical sector centers.

How will transport and supplies be regulated?

Rail and bus services can be reduced by 50% by operating companies. The authorities will guarantee the circulation of goods across all of Spain. The supply of tickets for travel available for reservation will be reduced by a third. The government will guarantee the supply of electricity, gas and oil, and the protection of infrastructure that is critical to services.

Is the supply of foodstuffs guaranteed?

The authorities guarantee the production, storage, transport and distribution of foodstuffs to the consumer. When necessary, the transport of produce will be under escort, and routes will be established to allow for the circulation of personnel, raw materials and finished products. To guarantee these supplies, the government has powers to mobilize the state security forces and the army.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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